The bumpy road -- after you hit a pothole

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – Who do you call after your vehicle hits a big pothole and suffers significant damage? That question was on the mind of Jenny Kaiser of Port Bickerton last July 28, when she was driving her motorcycle along the Nine Mile Woods Road.

“There were no signs about a pothole,” the second-year StFX student told The Journal. “I couldn’t even see it until I was right on top of it and it was too late.”

Kaiser, then 18, had a day off from her summer job with the St. Mary’s River Association on that sunny day, so was taking a tour on her bike in the Sherbrooke area, including some roads she didn’t know well.

“I wasn’t going that fast, probably 60. I hit it and I got up and took off my helmet got my phone and called my parents.” She said the bike flipped over and was laying two feet away from her on the pavement.

Soon after, Kenny Langley from Country Harbour came along. He took the phone and told her father exactly where they were. He also called 911. A fire truck, ambulance and police arrived on the scene.

“After Kenny came along he said I had a hole in my arm,” she recalled. “I noticed that blood was dripping from my arm but I didn’t really pay much attention to it because I was more worried about my bike because I had just bought it brand new in the spring...I was pretty upset about it.” The motorcycle was in bad shape, she said.

Kaiser was brought to St. Martha’s hospital, treated and released.

Her main concern was getting her bike fixed. People suggested to her that the crash was the Dept. of Transportation’s fault, because the road was in disrepair.

“I called the Dept. of Transportation a day or two after the accident, the Antigonish office, and sent an email about putting in a claim.”

Kaiser then went to Ceilidh Honda in New Glasgow for a quote to repair the bike. It would be $3,792 just for parts, she said. “I paid $3,150 for it brand new. So it was basically a write off.”

She submitted a claim to the Dept. of Transportation. The department’s insurance adjuster visited her later in August. Kaiser received a notice on Sept. 20 saying her claim was “rejected completely”.

She then went to legal aid but was turned down for legal representation on the matter.

Kaiser said she ran into Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, at a community event and discussed her predicament. He wanted to help and advised “me to try to go after the claim with the insurance adjuster,” she said.

She said she called the adjuster and they told her she would have to go back to the Dept. of Transportation office where she filed the claim. She did that and “they said there was nothing they could do.

“It was a real run-around...I was really surprised. Going into the Dept. of Transportation office in Antigonish...it made me really emotional just talking about it. And then for them to say ‘No, go away’.. It’s kind of rude. They could give me some support, maybe talk about my options.”

Since then Kaiser has been advised by people she knows to get a lawyer, but she’s worried about the cost.

“It’s put me out so much,” she said.